Dermabrasion after extensive electrolysis...

Hello all…
Despite my name on this forum, I have recently concluded a long journey and removed virtually all of my once thick beard via electrolysis. Overall I’m quite happy with the results.

This said, there are a few areas on my face that have some slight pitting and irregularities. I am considering a light to regular dermabrasion treatment by a highly skilled plastic surgeon to help with these issues.

However, as I’ve Googled my hairless face off, I’ve come across a notion (albeit not widely mentioned) that electrolysis destroys sebaceous glands and sebaceous glands play a large role in healing… Thus, my skin may not heal well after an invasive treatment such as dermabrasion. I think at some point I even saw something about this posted on Hairtell, but I don’t think there were any clear answers…

I’m torn! :confused:
I really want to go through with a dermabrasion as I’ve seen them have great results. Yet, I’m very scared that my skin won’t heal as well as it should and that I’ll be left with even worse skin/scars.

So, I’m curious what every one thinks of this? Your knowledge and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if anyone has had dermabrasion after extensive electrolysis, please let me know!!

Dear (un)beard dude,

You are right … somewhat. As you say, follicles are important to retain for the regrowth of the epidermis. But there are other healing mechanisms too.

First, it’s not the sebaceous glands, but the stem cells in the follicle itself that are important. If the epidermis is completely removed (and it certainly is with a dermabrasion … actually, well down into the dermis), the stem cells in the follicles migrate out of the follicle opening and reconstruct the entire epidermis. They move out onto the skin almost like little amoeba! But they’re not alone.

The stem cells in all the smaller hair follicle, the “hairless” sebaceous gland stem cells and also the sweat glands stem cells all do their part too. But, you are right to be concerned. And you must have “this talk” with the plastic surgeon.

I have not seen, of course, the extent of your electrolysis damage. However, a light chemical peel might be a better first choice? Dermabrasion can be dreadful afterward because of the long healing process. I have seen horrible scars that resulted from dermabrasion … the procedures that “went well!”

There are other options too. Several laser procedures don’t obliterate even the epidermis … and yet they can stimulate deep tissue collagen formation and lessen the appearance of pitted scars.

I would continue doing your research and talk to many different professionals. I wouldn’t rule out dermabrasion … but that does seem a pretty “harsh” solution to what might not be a difficult problem.

Note: Dr. Chapple used to do dermabrasion some time ago. Now, he never does this procedure, because there are so many other less drastic measures: laser, chemical peels and fillers. Don’t rule out fillers such as Belotero or Radiesse … these are great and have no risk.

I would use dermabrasion as a very last resort. It can be incredibly effective but has a very high risk of complications. I have had similar issues as you, and I’ve been looking into skin needling or “collagen induction therapy.” This is a much less invasive therapy in which a roller or handpiece containing hundreds of tiny, surgical needles is rolled or passed over the skin. This creates thousands of tiny wounds which then trigger the body’s healing response, causing it to lay down new collagen in a pattern more closely resembling “normal” skin texture. Six to twelve treatments are needed, but there is very little downtime. I’ve yet to have the treatments myself, but I’ve seen amazing results when it was used to treat acne scarring, stretch marks, burn scars, and wrinkles. In my opinion, it’s probably the only treatment currently available that can penetrate deeply enough to address the deep tissue damage from aggressive electrolysis. Light to medium depth TCA peels, as Michael suggested above, can also be beneficial in addition to the skin needling treatments. Peels are especially good at improving pigmentation problems and rough skin texture.

Wonderful and perfect explanation WeRNOT … Bravo! I’m super-happy this is working for you and I think that the “skin needling” is a very interesting “wrinkle in the industry” (pun intended). As you point out, the TCA peels are pretty darn safe too. The more aggressive peels can be dangerous and not predictable.

Here’s what every client needs to consider: Your healing is almost never a done deal! The skin is rebuilding itself all the time (whether injured or not). Even old scars and pigment problems can be corrected … but this takes time and diligence.

We often forget how truly dynamic the entire body is. Even bones, that we think are “permanent,” aren’t … they are being rebuilt and fully replaced all the time.

One stunning fact: in only ONE second, 10 million-cells in the human body replicate (“split” and reproduce themselves, i.e., mitosis.) Yeah, the body is exuberantly full of life.

The key is to direct the healing process in the right direction. Patients should initially take the less aggressive path, because one can always take more drastic measures later on.

This was a very important thread and I thank the original poster! Good job!

Thank you both so much for the thoughtful responses.
I’ve been researching for a while and have read all about lasers, peels and needling. In fact, I’ve tried most before undergoing electrolysis and was never greatly impressed with them.The main reason I’ve been considering dermabrasion recently is because of a fairly new technology being used on scars - Recell. Have you all heard of it?

The results look incredible. If you haven’t heard of it I can send you a link to some experiences and case studies! It’s supposed to aid and speed up healing considerably. Some say it drastically reduces any complications associated with dermabrasion. But the effectiveness of eliminating scars still obviously remains. Healing time and post treatment erythema are lessened. It’s available in most of the world but the US has yet to approve it… though they’ve been doing trials for a couple years and there method of choice with it is dermabrasion.

I have a couple other scars and irregularities on my face and I feel like dermabrasion would just whack all of skin issues off with one go - and with the aid of Recell I could heal optimally afterward… Ideally. I do have pretty sensitive skin though and again, was worried about my lack of hair follicles - though you have made me feel better about this of Michael Bono. Thanks.

Anyone have any thoughts/experience with Recell?

No experience with Recell here, but i did use Retin-A after some work on my cheeks. Worked like a charm, bumps were gone in a day.

If you have deep scars no amount of microdermabrasion will ever remove them completely, they will come back. I’m kind of looking into Derma-Rolling as an option to keep my skin looking good.

Make sure you aren’t confusing dermabrasion with “microdermabrasion.” They are very different. Microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals to remove the very outer layers of skin. This can freshen up one’s appearance but does very little for scarring. Dermabrasion, however, is a surgical procedure in which a physician uses a high speed wire whisk or burr to literally sand off the outer layers of the skin. This penetrates much more deeply and can effectively remove deep scarring or severe wrinkling. However, it necessitates general anesthesia and has a painful, messy, prolonged recovery time. Microdermabrasion is usually performed by estheticians, requires no anesthesia and has no down time.

Dermarolling, or collagen induction therapy, is probably the best bet for improving deep electrolysis damage. However, you would need a longer needle length and aggressive treatment, which is probably best done by a physician or at least under strict medical supervision. While micro needling is less invasive than a deep chemical peel, there is still the risk of infection, bleeding, scarring, or herpes outbreaks.